Synopses & Reviews
A brilliant reassessment of French Romantic painting by a noted art historian and Booker Prize winner
In Romanticism and Its Discontents, Booker Prize-winning novelist and celebrated art historian Anita Brookner offers a stunning reassessment of the masters of French Romantic painting in the context of nineteenth-century poetry, literature, and criticism.
Examining the works of these artists, Brookner traces the way in which French Romanticism evolved from the political turmoil of the late eighteenth century and the defeat of Waterloo in 1815, and replaced the agnosticism of the Enlightenment and the Revolution with a new heroism. She argues that the Romantics in France made the heroism of modern life their creed and "transferred their idealism to the domain of art, either as practitioners or as critics."
Here is Gros as hero and victim, Alfred de Musset as enfant du siecle, Delacroix as Romantic Classicist, and later in the century, Zola as an advocate of life for art's sake and Huysman's indulging in the madness of art.
In Romanticism and Its Discontents, Anita Brookner takes us on a fascinating tour of these artists, poets, and critics, bringing unfamiliar works brilliantly to life and casting a new light on more recognizable ones.
"Marvelous . . . a gem of a book." (Francine Prose, Bookforum)
About the Author
trained as an art historian and taught at the Courtauld Institute of Art until 1988. She has written a number of books on art history, and nineteen novels, including the 1984 Booker Prize winner, Hotel du Lac
. She lives in London.